Know the Prayer you pray
Two friends were having a nice talk and touched on many subjects. They eventually ended up on religion. The one who claim to know the Bible then challenged his friend to quote the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ and promised him R200 in cash should he be able to recite it correctly. The challenge was accepted, and the friend proceeded boldly, saying; ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, And If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Amen’ His friend smirked and reach into his pocket and gave him the R200 note saying, ‘I really did not think you knew it. Well done’. . He and his friend was of course wrong because the famous ‘The Lord’s prayer‘ or ‘Our Father’ in Matt 6 and Luke 11 is completely different. It is more than a prayer. It is a framework, and a guide to use. There is nothing wrong to recite it, but then you will have to do it from your heart, with feeling and deep seeded openness before God.
It is not a National Anthem.
Sadly, the Our Father, is treated like a national Anthem. It became acceptable practice to do it before major national events. This can be civic events, community events, sports events or cultural events. The truth is the Anthem or the Our Father, then has nothing to do and has little effect on the event and the occasion itself. It is just an acceptable practice for people. Many people do not really know this prayer neither what it stands for. They do not know the Lord they pray to, as Father. Prayer is relational to God. Its precious communication between God and His own people, His very own family. Prayer is supposed to have an effect on the event, the person you pray for, or the issue that you praying about. Prayer brings heaven into history and it brings eternity into time.
It is Relational Communication.
Jesus introduced this Prayer after telling His disciples how not to pray. He let them know that if you do not have a prayer relationship with God in secret then do not expect prayer to work in public. He explained by saying that God looks at the secret closet of communication to see if you just want something from Him or if you desire to be with Him. He called His disciples to be with Him. To have and pursue a relationship with Him. See Mark 3:14 The Our Father is in essence, relational. Let us touch on some of the aspects of the Our Father as a model prayer, filled with principles to follow.
First, understand that it is actually not the ‘Lord’s prayer’ as many would like to call it. Jesus could not pray this prayer, as He had nothing to forgive and owe nobody anything. We are however grateful that He took our place on the cross and with that in mind, it became the Lord’s Prayer, on behalf of us.
It has Two Parts
The first part of the prayer is about God. See Examples: “Our Father”, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, ‘Thy Will be done’. The second part is about us. Examples here are ‘Give us this day our’, ‘forgive us’ etc. Just because God knows about your need does not mean that He will act upon it, until there is relational communication about it. The ‘Our’ in the ‘Our Father’ prayer speaks of family. Since its relational prayer, God wants you to recognize that you are not an only child. We are part of a huge family and He wants us to acknowledge each other. All of us became family once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. See John1:12.Then Jesus becomes your older brother. We need to be as inclusive as Jesus is. Let us count our brothers and sisters in. This is how we get God’s attention and affection, which will result in His intervention in our lives. We will not get God, our Father involved in our lives if we separate ourselves from sus’s bride, His church. The Bible encouraged ‘not forsaking the assembly’ of the church. Heb10:24-25.
The Father motive.
Unfortunately, many children was raised by an abusive or absent father. This has an effect on how we relate to God as our Father. Let us, as Fathers, make the world and life a better experience for our Children, by copying and emulating our heavenly Father. God is Father in position and in title. Many men do not own up to the responsibilities and commitment of having children. They just have the title, but no authority. We can see how the devil has worked hard on letting men be absent from the homes where they have fathered children. We, as fathers, must take our lessons and standards from our Heavenly Father. In this way, we can level the playing field for our children. Now that we have grown up, we value the sacrifices our fathers have made to give us protection, provision and a sense of purpose. Approach your heavenly father in the same manner, keeping His Sacrifice in mind in order that we can have a future that is forever secure in heaven. To us He is Father and Judge. To the world, God is just a Judge.
God in heaven.
God our father is in Heaven. He is not on earth. By His Spirit, He lives in us but He resides in heaven. Earth, is limited by space, time and resources. Heaven knows no such limitations. Our Father is therefore unlimited. Approach Him like that. Let us not project our own limitations or our earthly Father’s limitations, on our Heavenly Father.
Hallowed means: Holy; Sacred; Special; Set-apart; One-of-a-kind; In-a-class-of-its-own. Let us therefore draw near to God, respectfully, reverently and with high regard. Make it your business to know the meaning of His Names for it reveals His nature, His Character and His functions. Jehovah Rohi means that He personifies a Caring Shepherd and we are His Sheep. Jehovah Rapha means ‘The God who continually heals’. That is His nature. Next time you approach your father in prayer. Call Him by his hallowed Names. This is who He is and What He does. Expect His Name to happen to you when you address Him as such. “Heavenly Father, Jehovah Rapha, My God Who Heals, I honor and reverence your name and reputation that never change. Hallowed be His Name.
Together in His Service.
Pastor: Bethany Christian Church Durbanville, Cape Town South Africa